Week 5

Hour 1

So the plan for this week is to do some of the available tutorials for both Ajax Animator, which is the web based flash platform that I’ve discussed in previous weeks, and the Avairy online graphics suite.

Ajax plans to have tutorials available at some point, but that aren’t in place yet.  However the interface is quite similiar to the Adobe Flash interface.  I found some really short basic flash tutorials, and right off the bat I’ve discovered that Ajax has a few shortcomngs.  Firstly I can’t find an option to change the canvas background color.  Secoundly the Text and Image tools don’t let you type or import images.  They just have some display text and a promo image to show the tool.  Sigh… I was hoping for better.

So I spent the rest of the first hour vainly trolling the internet for other options.  Looks like there are plenty of open source IDEs for writting action script and even coding Flash, but there are no alternatives that I could find for the GUI Flash development.  Since I feel comfortable writing code anyway the best option for me would just be to spend some time learning another language.

Hour 2

So I spent about an hour reading through some tutorials and Wikis about Flash and Action Script and the various IDEs that are available.  Seems the most popular IDE is Eclipse, which I have mentioned a few times.  Eclipse also came up in the interview with Lantz (see Week 4 – Personal Developement).  From what I gather if you are farmiliar with coding it is completely possible to build Flash movies and applications without relying on the Flash developement tool from Adobe, but it does involve a basic understanding of OOP and coding.  I’m just not awake enough right now to dig further at the moment.

Hour 3

There are some nice user generated tutorials on the Aviary site in the free accounts.  To start with there is a basic walkthrough called Flight Lessons 101 (just look under the Help menu / Aviary help) which starts with setting up an account, and gives a bit of detail about what the various tools are.  At this point the site has the following tools available:

  • Phoenix – basic image editor (stripped down version of Photoshop)
  • Raven – vector graphics editor (think Illustrator)
  • Peacock – visual labratory with a nodes based user interface
  • Toucan – color palettes tool

In the tutorials section I looked at some of the Beginner level tutorials.  Background Cloning is a good starting point with basics for covering the foreground of an image with adjacent background selections.  Coloring Line Art includes some basic ideas about using gradients and shadows to add depth to a picture.  Enhancing Saturation had some pointers about selectively nudging the hues and satuation of various elements of a photo for effect.  The Perspective Sign tutorial gives an overview of the distortion tool, and mentions the lasso selection and horizontal flipping.  Understanding Layers gives an idea of how the layer system works.  Just looking over some of the comments from other folks it really seems like they need an even more basic program interface tutorial just stating where all the tools are and how the interface is laid out.  Since I have background in Photoshop, and a good intuitive sense for software I didn’t have any problem making sense of the directions, but some of these users are completely lost.

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